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London and the Southeast region of the United Kingdom top the list of the country's fraud hotspots, according to a report released this week by CIFAS, a UK-based fraud-prevention service. The report covers credit card, loan, mortgage and bank-account fraud. "Although it is not unexpected that fraud should be at its most prevalent in cities, it is remarkable that almost all fraudulent activity is concentrated in and around London," Sandra Peaston, the service's research manager, says in a statement. Overall, the fraud-prevention service recorded 104,548 confirmed cases of fraud from January to mid-July. The organization says bank accounts and credit cards remain fraudsters' targets of choice. APACS, a UK payments association, says the service's research is consistent with its own findings. "Given that the number of cardholders is highest in the Southeast it stands to reason that more card fraud happens in that region," an APACS spokesperson tells CardLine Global. "There are also more retailers and therefore more transactions happening in London, which explains why fraudsters are keen to target that region." APACS says card fraud losses in 2007 reached £535.2 million (US$1.07 billion or 673.4 million euros), up 25% from £427 million in 2006.

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